With a light step, as if earth and its trammels had little power to restrain him, a young man in gorgeous vestments pauses at the brink of a precipice among the great heights of the world; he surveys the blue distance before him--its expanse of sky rather than the prospect below. His act of eager walking is still indicated, though he is stationary at the given moment; his dog is still bounding. The edge which opens on the depth has no terror; it is as if angels were waiting to uphold him, if it came about that he leaped from the height. His countenance is full of intelligence and expectant dream. He has a rose in one hand and in the other a costly wand, from which depends over his right shoulder a wallet curiously embroidered. He is a prince of the other world on his travels through this one--all amidst the morning glory, in the keen air. The sun, which shines behind him, knows whence he came, whither he is going, and how he will return by another path after many days. He is the spirit in search of experience. Many symbols of the Instituted Mysteries are summarized in this card, which reverses, under high warrants, all the confusions that have preceded it.--A.E. Waite

In spiritual matters, the Fool means idea, thought, spirituality, that which endeavours to transcend earth. In material matters, it may, if badly dignified, mean folly, eccentricity, or even mania. But the essential of this card is that it represents an original, subtle, sudden impulse or impact, coming from a completely strange quarter. All such impulses are right, if rightly received; and the good or ill interpretation of the card depends entirely on the right attitude of the Querent.--Aleister Crowley

We begin with the Fool (0), a card of beginnings. The Fool stands for each one of us as we begin our journey of life. He is "foolish" because only a simple soul has the innocent faith needed to undertake such a journey with all its hazards and pain.

At the start of his trip, the Fool is a newborn - fresh, open and spontaneous. The figure on Card 0 has his arms flung wide, and his head held high. He is ready to embrace whatever comes his way, but he is also oblivious to the cliff edge he is about to cross. The Fool is unaware of the hardships he will face as he ventures out to learn the lessons of the world.

The Fool stands somewhat outside the rest of the Major Arcana. Zero is an unusual number. It rests in the exact middle of the number system - poised between the positive and the negative. At birth, the Fool is set in the middle of his own individual universe. He is strangely empty (as is zero), but imbued with a desire to go forth and learn. This undertaking would seem to be folly, but is it? Only at the end of his journey will the Fool know the answer to that question.--Joan Bunning

He represents the state of grace and purity of energy at the ascent and descent from the Godhead. Guided by intuition and precognition, he is oblivious to the mundane concerns of everyday life. . . . He proceeds optimistically, oblivious to impending dangers, emphasized by his position on a cliff's edge. Like the medieval jester, he wanders with the same good-natured ease into the king's castle as into the peasant's village.

The ancients believed . . . madmen had a clearer idea of Spirit since they were so removed from society and therefore not bogged down by the material, physical pursuits of man. The Tarot's Fool will wander into your life, inspire you, and then, like the wind, he will move on. Remember, although he has descended straight from the Limitless Light, he is now tainted by the earthly plane and can use his disarming innocence for tricky, indifferent, crazy, even lawless behavior.--Susan Hansson

...The Fool, whose card, like our Joker Wild, is unnumbered. I have placed him outside and at the end of the set, to signify his freedom to roam as a vagabond, beyond as well as through all of the numbered stations, trumping them all.--Joseph Campbell

The alternate to the Eye of Horus is a falcon head, Horus as sun-bird, who flies east to west and "passes into the earth, to become reborn on the next day. He is thus the one who 'begets himself.'" The symbol is perfect for the fool, since he passes into the earth (abyss) and begets himself from the djed of the magician, or as the One, appears from the No-thing. In the circular flight of the sun-bird encompassing the earth from east to west, we may read the serpent uroboros engirdling the magician's waist. And in this transcendent flight, we are not to forget the feathering of the soul's own wings, else the example of the god be lost to man.

Since Hermes of Greek mythology and dog-headed Thoth of Egypt are ancient prototypes of the Mercurius of alchemy, Manly Hall's words are relevant to an interpretation of the companionship of fool and dog. "Cynocephalus, the dog-headed ape," he writes, "was the Egyptian hieroglyphic symbol of writing, and was closely associated with Thoth. Mercury rules the astrological Third House of writing and communication. Cynocephalus is symbolic of the moon and Thoth of the planet Mercury. Because of the ancient belief that the moon followed Mercury about the heavens, the dog-ape was described as the faithful companion of Thoth."--Richard Roberts

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